Tuesday, June 27, 2006

John Kerry's Skimmer Scam

With John Kerry's allies working on a dossier to refute claims made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in time for his 2008 run, Thomas Lipscomb looks at one particular incident in detail over at Real Clear Politics:

Kerry's summary of the mission? Here is what he told Tim Russert on "Meet the Press":

"We were in combat. We were in a very, very--probably one of the most frightening--if you ask anybody who was with me, the two guys who were with me, was probably the most frightening night that they had that they were in Vietnam... ."

Kerry in TOUR OF DUTY:

"It was a half-assed action that hardly qualified as combat, but it was my first... . ... [A] minor skirmish, but since I couldn't put my finger on what we really accomplished or on what had happened, it was difficult to feel satisfied. "

Finally, Kerry in TOUR OF DUTY a la recherche... from his "journal" nine days after "whatever" happened in Na Trang Bay:

"A cocky feeling of invincibility accompanied us up the Long Tau shipping channel because we hadn't been shot at yet, and Americans at war who haven't been shot at are allowed to be cocky."

Take your pick.

Poor Schachte, who had had a boring evening ending in a blown mission - somehow in the same time and place in that parallel universe to Kerry's "frightening" magical mystery tour - got debriefed by the Coastal Division 14 commander Hibbard, filed no after action report since there was no enemy action, told Hibbard Kerry wanted a Purple Heart, and hit the sack, mildly disgusted.

Kerry got back in the same time and same place, and filed no after action report. Neither did Mike Voss, despite an action as described by Kerry that certainly merited one and would have guaranteed him an automatic purple heart with no problems with either Hibbard or Schachte had he filed one. In fact, according to Hibbard, it would have been the only after action report filed on one of Schachte's skimmer missions which weren't as effective as he and Schachte had hoped. Schachte disagrees and is convinced there must have been "one or two."

Kerry reported to Navy doctor Louis Letson the next morning after duty hours began at 8 AM. Schachte had told him, "No enemy action, no purple heart." Kerry's appeal to Hibbard brought the rejoinder "I have seen rose thorn injuries worse than that. No enemy action, no purple heart." Surely a doctor would be more understanding, not that it mattered. Only Kerry's direct commanders could approve the award.

Kerry lay down on Letson's examination table and told Letson: "We were involved in a fire fight and we received fire from shore." One of the four or five men hanging around the dispensary out of Kerry's sight lowered his head and began to wag an emphatic "no" and stifle a laugh. Letson found ¼ inch fragment sticking out of Kerry's upper arm. It looked like wire about the diameter of a toothpick, he pulled it out with his forceps and flipped it with a tiny "klink" into a steel basin held by his Hospitalman, Jesus Carreon, to the applause of the appreciative audience. Letson was so amused he took a photo of Carreon holding the basin with the ½ inch fragment barely visible in the bottom of it.